How It Started – May 2016
In May 2016 I started getting a dull pulling kind of pain in the right side of my groin. A few weeks before this pain started, I got a bad throat infection that took almost 3 weeks to treat. The pain was not too bad initially so I ignored it thinking I must have pulled a muscle. But as the days passed, it did not go away on its own. I knew nothing about what this could be, so I searched my symptoms online. That’s the first time I came to know of the terms “epididymitis” and “prostatitis”. I found many possibilities of what could be causing the pains, quite a few of which were sexually transmitted infections. I decided I should get tested to see if I have something to be concerned about, though I could not think of any plausible reason for it. I got blood and urine tests done for a full STD panel (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, HSV 1 and 2), and they all came out negative. And yet, I was only feeling worse. While I was waiting for my results, the doctor gave me a single dose of 1gm Azithromycin. A month after my pain had started, I also started getting a low grade fever on a daily basis. This was a confusing situation, and I decided it was time to go to a specialist urologist.
Unsuccessful Prostatitis Treatments – July to October 2016
In July 2016 I went to a urologist who came highly recommended by doctors known to my family. I explained my symptoms to him. He then conducted a digital rectal exam (DRE) on me, and told me I have a condition called prostatitis. He put me on 10 days of Doxycycline, and told me I should be fine. 10 days later, I had no improvement, so he changed my medicine to a 4 week course of Ofloxacin, and said this ought to work. I went back to him 4 weeks later with no change in my symptoms. His response was to extend my course of Ofloxacin by another 3 weeks. I started to feel like a lab rat – he was just guessing what was happening to me and how to treat it. By this time, my symptoms were a persistent low grade fever, pelvic pains, flank pains, pains post ejaculation and frequent urination. I was searching the internet everyday to figure out more about this condition, how to correctly diagnose it and then treat it. I decided to take a different urologist’s opinion, one who might be more open to testing for pathogens rather than throwing different antibiotics at me. It took a lot of searching to find a urologist who agreed to doing a prostate massage followed by a post-massage urine culture. This too came out sterile. He recommended I take a 1 week course of Cipro and intravenous Amikacin to kill off any pathogens that might be causing my problems. In my mind, I was clear – this was the last shot I was going to give to antibiotics. If this didn’t make me feel better, I would look at other treatment options. 7 days or oral Cipro and IV Amikacin later, my symptoms had only become worse and I knew I needed to find a different solution.
What Finally Worked – Nov 2016 to now
What finally worked to eliminate my pathogens was phage therapy. I came across phage therapy when I was researching alternate approaches to eradicate bacterial infections. I travelled to Georgia in Eastern Europe for the treatment. My semen and prostate fluid were cultured (for the first time), and four pathogens were identified – Enterococcus Faecalis in my semen, and Staphylococcus Aureus, Staphylococcus Haemolyticus and Streptococcus Mitis in my prostate fluid. Based on the sensitivity of the standard phage medications to the cultured pathogens, I was given phage medicines. I was taking them orally, through rectal suppositories, and via a urethral procedure done at the clinic by the urologist. My persistent fever went away within 4 days of starting the phages. My pains started to get better in a few weeks. The improvement in symptoms was not linear – urinary frequency and pains would go up and down, but the long term trend was one of improvement. Equally importantly, lab tests showed that the infection was getting better – WBC count in the prostate fluid and semen was coming down and cultures were showing that one by one the bacteria were being eliminated. The challenging pathogen was the Strep – it was resistant to all the standard phage medicines and needed a custom phage medicine to be prepared.
My Condition Now – Jan 2018
I am currently taking phage therapy for my last pathogen – the Strep. 3 pathogens – Staph Aureus, Staph Haemolyticus and Enterococcus Faecalis have all been eliminated. It has taken time (1 year) and multiple visits but I am confident that the worst of the problem is now behind me and the last pathogen will be eliminated by the time I finish my phages. My prostate size has reduced from 24 grams in Oct 2016 to 14 grams in Nov 2017. Symptomatically the low grade fever is gone, the pelvic pains (around the pubic bone) are gone, the flank pains are gone. The only symptom I have now is an occasional dull pain in the right epididymis. Overall if I had to put a number to my recovery, I would say I am 90% better compared to how I was 12-14 months ago.
Foods and Supplements that have helped
- Chewing cloves of raw garlic – this helped a lot with the epididymitis pains
- Ginger and honey mix – strong anti-inflammatory foods
- Turmeric – Same as ginger, has helped in bolstering my immunity
- Saw Palmetto
- Vitamin D3
I will write separate posts dedicated to these and more things that have helped me over this period.
My take on Prostatitis and Epididymitis
In my case, the prostatitis and epididymitis were clearly caused by bacterial pathogens. As these have been eradicated, my symptoms have gotten better. I believe most cases of prostatitis and epididymitis are caused by microbial pathogens (bacteria, fungus, etc) and they need to be eliminated for the sufferer to be able to fully recover. Exercises, stretches, diet modification and supplements can help to manage and improve symptoms and immunity, but you need to get rid of the root cause of the problem to get a lasting cure.
I personally do not believe in the non-bacterial prostatitis theory, unless it happens due to an injury. According to me, a root cause has to be there to cause inflammation in the prostate and surrounding areas. When doctors give the diagnosis of non-bacterial prostatitis, it is possible that the correct tests are not done, or indeed, that tests are not done at all. In so many cases where antibiotics are prescribed and tried and the prostatitis sufferer does not recover, non-bacterial prostatitis becomes a convenient diagnosis.
In my case, the pathogens were resistant to the antibiotics I took. I guess that’s why my symptoms never got better despite taking all those antibiotics. The other issue with antibiotics is that they don’t seem to be able to reach the prostate in adequate concentrations to kill the pathogens. Phages have worked out well for me as they don’t have a problem getting into the prostate. In addition, they replicate at the site of infection, which makes them effective in eradicating infections in difficult-to-reach parts of the body.
When I started suffering from prostatitis, I found a lot of people online in the same boat as me – searching for answers, and searching for a release from this dreadful condition. But there were very few accounts by people about what really helped them recover. I have spent a lot of time online trying to figure out what can help overcome the symptoms and the root cause(s) of prostatitis. Through this blog, I want to share with fellow sufferers everything that I have learned, as well as everything that I have tried that worked for me, so that you can access solutions much faster than I could.
If you are unfortunately suffering from prostatitis or a related condition, know that you are not alone. Go through the blog, try different things, and most of all keep faith. If you have any questions, reach out to me. Different things give relief to different people. The solution for you is out there, you just have to find it.
Take care, and read on.